Happy 44th Anniversary to Us!

Forty-four years ago I walked down an improvised aisle on my parents’ enclosed back porch to meet my groom, my hero, my colorful character—Jack.

We’ve faced a few challenges in our lives, and each of us has cared for the others during illnesses. However, we’ve never lacked for love or laughter.

Today we carry more pounds and wrinkles, and we move a little slower. Some of our laughs today come from what Jack thinks I or someone else said, which is often very different from what was actually said. His hearing is poor, and he says he’s filled his brain up in seventy-eight years of living so he doesn’t have room for more. So sometimes his misunderstandings are pretty funny.

Jack used to do all the grocery shopping and the laundry. Now, the laundry is my job, and we share the shopping. Our trip to Walmart at 2 AM is a highlight of our week. I’ve always been a night owl, and Jack sleeps off and on through the day and night, so the middle of the night is a great time for us. We don’t do well in crowds, so we enjoy shopping when there are few customers around.

But what makes our shopping so special are the people at our local Walmart. Jack used to shop at a local grocery store, and we ended up at Walmart the first time because it happened to be close by on my way home from an emergency room visit. I was having myoclonic seizures in the car while Jack went in to get a prescription filled, and four Walmart managers came out to the car and stayed with me, comforting me the entire time. So Jack started shopping there and got acquainted with the store general manager, Al Slavin, a fellow Texas Aggie.

After shopping became too difficult for Jack to manage on his own, we started our wee-hours-of-the-morning shopping schedule. We realized the store would be full of stockers replenishing the shelves, and we knew we could ask questions if needed help. But we didn’t know how helpful and friendly the staff would be. I would love to name each one individually, but I don’t even know all their names.

Both of us use the store scooters, and everywhere we go in the store, workers ask if we need help. If we happen to arrive when some of the stockers are taking a break in front of the store, a couple will go get scooters and bring them out to us. The guys cleaning the floor stop to greet us and ask how we are. The checkers and managers joke with us and go out of their way to be helpful. I never enjoyed shopping before, but now Jack and I both look forward to our Walmart outing.

After we finish shopping, we head off to breakfast at Denny’s at San Pedro and Bitters. Brittany sees us pulling into the parking lot, and she has our table ready and my decaf brewing. She’s always upbeat and enthusiastic and remembers what we like.

If anyone had told me forty-four years ago that we would look forward to a weekly date of grocery shopping and breakfast, I wouldn’t have believed it. But anything I do with Jack is fun, and the people at Walmart and Denny’s make our date even better!

Jack has a doctor’s appointment today, then we’ll have lunch at Mr. and Mrs. G’s Home Cooking, a little hole-in-the-wall cafeteria-style restaurant that has the best Southern home cooking you can imagine.

Happy anniversary, Jack. I love you!

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